Friday, August 01, 2008

Hoh Rain Forest, Part One

I think I forgot to mention in an earlier blog post that this weekend in July marked the ten year anniversary of Shelley taking me for a bachelorette camping weekend to Mt. Rainier National Park. We tent camped and had a lot of fun. I have a whole scrapbook full of happy memories from that trip.

The pictures on this day, July 27th mark the ten year anniversary of picking out my wedding dress with Mom and Shelley in Ballard (Seattle). It was 100*! That's very unusual for Seattle and boy were those dresses HOT. I stood in front of a fan and the lady brought us ice water in bottles to keep us from getting sick. Most people in Seattle don't have air conditioning. The humidity is higher so it feels really hot and more oppressive than the heat we we experience in north central California.

Well, ten years later, I headed out in a van with Shelley and my 3 children for a wonderful adventure. Look at the highway. The sides of the road were literally carpeted with daisies. It was pretty amazing.

Other flowers were growing there too, including thistles.

There were clear cut areas along side of the road. I know this is extremely controversial, but I do have to say that I have been watching these areas since 1974 and the area is really looking healthy and wonderful. I still don't understand why this wood can't be used by people for fireplaces, but even though this all looks dead, the beginnings of a new forest are present and it fully illustrated what the kids and I have been learning in one of our school books about how forests grow. In this open area, lots of plants begin growing - fireweed, foxglove, ox eye daisies, dandelions and various grasses and "weeds". Once they are profuse, seedlings grow - first come the deciduous broad leaf trees like maple and alder. Left alone, evergreen conifers will also begin to grow and eventually crowd out the broad leaf trees. Likely though, this land will be reforested - the logging company will plant fir trees here again. Areas which were clear cut in 1984 are looking healthy and densely forested and I was glad to see that.

This photo happened by accident because my filter fogged over. I love foxglove and they remind me of my Grandma. There was acreage adjacent to hers and my cousins' land that is now a housing development. Before all the construction, there was just a dirt road through it and we would walk up there together. She would point out the various plants and trees and I remember her telling me how digitalis comes from foxglove. She also had it planted in her flower bed, where it looked natural in front of her 1929 English Tudor style home! One day I hope I live where I can plant a woodland garden that will include many varieties of ferns, hostas and plants like foxglove, bleeding heart and others which are more shade loving or cannot withstand the extreme temperatures that we now experience.

I'm still on the search for a good thistle shot. I love the purple thistles which are a symbol of Scotland.

White flowers always attract me and the white foxglove are no different. They were peppered throughout their purple counterparts adding a bit of contrast here and there.

When we stopped to take photos we went down a side road where we saw several acres of ox eye daisies, fireweed and foxglove. It was incredible. Of all the years I have been going here, I have never seen the vegetation so profuse! I'm so thankful that I got to see it!

Here is Shelley taking daisy closeups.

Fireweed - so named because it is often the first to sprout up after a fire.

On the sides of the road leading into the Rain Forest we saw lots of lush green vegetation and I enjoyed seeing all these different plants and shapes of leaves together.

We stopped at Peak 6 which is part souvenir shop, part outfitter, part guide service. The owners are grandchildren of Minnie Peterson, a woman famous as a packer in the area for over fifty years. The kids enjoyed the big bears, similar to their Tahoe bear at home.

They also had fun riding this buffalo inside the store!

The fog and mist never quite left us, but made pretty impressions and pictures here and there.

Huckleberries! Num!

Forget-Me-Nots are special to me because of my brother Danny.

This shot is of the road taken through the window.

As you get closer to the forest, which gets by some counts 130 and by others 150 inches of rain per year, you see more moss.

These are road side views.

A great example of a nurse log, which we had read about in school before we made this trip.

Just before entering the park, you come to this marsh.

And the kids had fun seeing their first slugs!

If you stand still long enough, even you will get covered in moss! LOL

Crossing a small stream where the sand and silt is a lovely blue gray color and there are water plants reminiscent of aquarium vegetation. They sway with the movement of the water, while the moss hangs from this branch like lovely sylvan drapery.

Another nurse log.

Shelley, D and J (A is between Shelley and D), heading up the trail.

Ferns, oxalis and other plants, wet from a recent shower.

Deer ferns and Oxalis.

Moss on the maple trees.

J received her first lesson about not picking things in the wild, especially at a National Park. She has recently been interested in picking flowers and I have to keep a close eye on her.
Here is the ranger who stopped and talked with us (A and D pictured). We also shared with her about the Sequoia trees in Big Trees State Park because she thought that maybe since we lived in a city in California, that we had never seen big trees before!

J and A next to a large log. The Hoh Rain Forest is actually a World Heritage Site because it is so unique and one of the only locations like it left.

J, D and A in front of a big Doug Fir tree.

A checking out ferns.

Shelley in front of a stump that we have been photographing friends and family in front of for years.
Shelley took this picture of me with A, D and J.

Shelley, D, J and A. Mom brings up the trail with her camera!

Moss hanging from a Maple tree in the Maple Grove.

A showing off her chipmunk finger puppet I bought her at the Ranger Station.

D also chose a chipmunk.

J chose a goldfinch that sings, a smaller version of one Grandpa has. People kept saying, "I hear a bird singing, isn't it pretty?" LOL

Another view of the Maple Grove. The pictures of the Hall of Mosses must wait for another day since it is almost midnight! I need to sleep fast so I can get up early and get a shower before the water is turned off. We were without water most of the day as a line has blown in the mobile park here. Fortunately our side of the park had water restored but it will have to be turned off for at least part of the day tomorrow for repairs. Oh joy and fun as we prepare to have a big family gathering on Sunday! :o)


Wool Winder said...

Beautiful wildflowers!

Scrabblequeen said...

I'm enjoying the cool, green (and grey) of your trip. I wanna go too!